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HARVARD — The Parks and Recreation Commission has spent the last few years developing specs for a series of recreation paths that would connect key areas in town. The master plan shows a trail running south from Harvard Park on Old Lancaster Road to the town center and over to Bare Hill Pond.

The plan is to build in phases. The commission will seek $7,500 from Town Meeting this spring to build one-and-a-half miles of the trail between Harvard Park and the town playing fields on Depot Road.

Commission Cochairman James Lee has been pushing for this project since 2003. He said the idea is to make Harvard more walk-able.

“Our goal isn’t to make a scenic trail,” he said. “It’s to get from one point to another and make it safe.”

Road shoulders used to be sufficient, but have gotten increasingly narrow as the roads have widened over the years, he said. The path would remove worry of traffic from walking around town, he said.

The commission has also worked to make it affordable. The appropriations would come from the Community Preservation Act, which matches a 1.1-percent property-tax surcharge with state revenues collected through the registry of deeds.

There’s also an 80-percent state match on the project, which makes it possible for the town to leverage a $62,000 project from just $3,750 in local funds.

“The fact that we’re getting so much state funds for our town dollars, I’m confident it will fly,” said Lee.

Under the grant agreement, the town would be obligated to contribute $12,000, but the remainder would be made up through private donations and in-kind work from the Department of Public Works, said Lee.

The recreation areas connected by the trail are divided by Route 2 and a large wooded area. If built, the path would add an extended shoulder on Depot Road until going under Route 2.

From there the path would follow what’s now a snowmobile path through a forest and join up with Lancaster County Road at the bend where it turns into Blanchard Road.

An easement has already been worked out with a property owner to allow the trail to run parallel through the forest near Route 2, said Lee. An agreement with the state to cross its property is also being worked out.

The path would be made of a crushed stone. If everything falls into place, it could be built this year.

Less certain is the time frame for parts of the trail that would connect the town center with the Depot Road fields and Bare Hill Pond.

The stretch from Town Hall to Depot Road would require several easements. Though discussions were initiated with some property owners last year, Lee said that’s been on hiatus recently.

The plan is to establish the first part of the trail and then resume the discussions. If everything works out, there could be a request for another segment of the trail next spring.

“If it isn’t in the pipeline for next year, it will be very soon after,” he said.

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